Raptors who are new to the team this year already learning that Ridgefield is a baseball town in the summer, and Clark County truly supports this team
RIDGEFIELD — Some of the newest Ridgefield Raptors are already feeling right at home in Clark County.
The Raptors played their first eight games of the season at the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex. That was eight games in eight days, so not a whole lot of down time to visit the area.
Still, Jeff Hoffman and his girlfriend did get a chance to go to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge one evening.
“That was awesome. Good scenery. We got a good sunset,” Hoffman said, noting that they both loved seeing the nutria.
For the most part, though, the new Raptors have been getting to know Ridgefield at the ballpark.
“It’s a great community out here, definitely,” Hoffman said. “Before the second day ended, people were already calling me by name, giving me that support when I’m walking up to the plate. That’s all you can ask for, just a strong community, a strong fan base.”
Many of the Raptors play college baseball at small colleges or junior colleges. The crowds for Raptors games are much bigger than a regular-season game in college.
“It’s just a really good experience, seeing all the fans here,” said Andy Ambriz, who plays for the College of the Canyons in California during the academic year. “It shows how much they appreciate having this league here. It’s really cool to see.”
Jack Salmon plays college baseball at Golden West College, a junior college in California.
“It’s a lot different here. It’s a lot of fun. In junior college and other DI schools, you don’t get this kind of an atmosphere. It’s insane,” Salmon said.
Hoffman, who is from California and plays at Willamette University in Salem, acknowledged he was a bit intimidated by the crowd at first. The Raptors had a franchise best three-game weekend in terms of attendance for the first West Coast League series this year.
“Once you settle in, talk to the fans a little bit while you’re on deck, you can enjoy it rather than just stress about it,” Hoffman said.
Raptor fans got those eight games in eight games to start the season. But the Raptors have been on the road for the past six games. Ridgefield is 6-6 in West Coast League games (and 1-1 in non-league games) after taking two of three from the Portland Pickles this week.
The Raptors are returning to the RORC for a three-game series this weekend against the Cowlitz Bears. The players should expect big crowds again this weekend for a couple of reasons. One, the Raptors hit the road for six more games right after this weekend series. Two, this is a rivalry series against the Black Bears. The two teams play seven games during the season, with the team that wins the most games earning the Columbia River Cup. The teams also encourage both fan bases to make it out to these games.
If the first homestand is any indication, the Raptors should enjoy the experience this weekend.
Raptors notes: The Raptors and Black Bears play at the RORC with first pitch at 6:35 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1:05 p.m. Sunday. … The Raptors beat the Black Bears on opening night. That was considered a non-league game but did give the Raptors a 1-0 series lead in the race for the Columbia River Cup. … These three games this weekend are West Coast League games. … Quincy Scott drove in two runs Thursday night, and Andy Allenson had three hits for the Raptors. Camden Oram threw four scoreless innings of relief to pick up the save. … Allanson had two hits and drove in two runs in Wednesday’s win over the Pickles. Nate Wenzel pitched six innings and picked up the win.
- State arm wrestling championships ready to flex Saturday in VancouverArmSports Entertainment, founded and owned by a Clark County arm wrestler, is hosting more than 300 competitors for the Washington State Arm Wrestling Championships at Kiggins Theater on Saturday.
- Vancouver Lightning to host match Saturday night in indoor soccer leagueVancouver Lightning, a new semi-professional arena soccer team, is playing in the Western Indoor Soccer League.
- Girls basketball: Titan great Tee Anderson returns to Union as Columbia River’s head coachTuileisu “Tee” Anderson still holds several program records from her time playing at Union High School, but on Wednesday she went to Union as a visitor, as the new head coach at Columbia River High School.
- Washougal 5th grade runners compete at Junior Olympics Regional XC meetAnava and Joela Grundy, 5th grade students at Columbia River Gorge Elementary, competed at the USATF Junior Olympics Regional XC Meet in Athol, Idaho, on Nov. 18.
- Opinion: Seton Catholic’s loss in state semifinals reminiscent of Hockinson’s rise to gloryHigh school football: Seton Catholic lost in the Class 1A state semifinals on Saturday in a game that reminded an old coach, and old journalist, of a game in 2014 that would eventually catapult Hockinson to back-to-back state championships.